Despite the late start to 14er season this year, due to the massive amounts of snow over the winter, my friends and I managed to get in just as many peaks as in other years. Dedication to the cause! Not that I ever plan to hike them all—Class 4s with full climbing gear are definitely not for me—but it simply wouldn’t be a summer in Colorado if I wasn’t on the tippy top of the state at least a few times. Here are the five I ticked off my list in 2019.
Saturday: Spent seven hours in the car
Sunday: Went grocery shopping
Monday: Called into an all-hands at my full time job
Tuesday: Did half an hour of work for a freelance client
Wednesday: Got my oil changed
Thursday: Groomed the dog
Friday: Woke up to a 6:30 AM alarm
Saturday: Cleaned up the house
Sunday: Got stuck in a traffic jam (until I was crafty enough to find a way around it because I carry an atlas in my car since I often travel places where there is no cell service, as in this case)
It’s been awfully quiet here on Jen Seriously for the last two months. What gives?
The simple answer is that I’ve been trying to prioritize my time better. Without any real responsibilities or obligations outside my full time job, I have plenty of free time, but I do a lot with that time and have a lot of hobbies, interests, and personal goals. Trying to balance each of them so I feel like I’m maximizing my life, making time for what makes me happy, and working toward specific plans I have for my future isn’t easy. At the time this posts, I’ll be driving back to Boulder from a week-long trip to the mountains in southwest Colorado. It was my unofficial end-of-summer last hurrah, and now it’s time to get down to business (although I’m secretly hoping the weather cooperates for at least two more camping weekends). Continue reading →
At the end of June, I flew my dad out from Buffalo for a little visit. The last time he was here, four years ago, I lived in downtown Denver, by Union Station, so we did a lot of city activities. This time, I’m a Boulder gal and much more outdoorsy, so the itinerary was quite different. We made a huge loop from Boulder to Glenwood Springs, down to Ouray and Durango, across to South Fork, and then back up to Boulder. We visited some natural wonders, like the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Great Sand Dunes National Park, but the main purpose of the trip was to check out old mining towns. My plans were somewhat thwarted by the massive dumps of snow Colorado had all winter, even as late as June 21, which meant some of the back country roads I wanted to take to get to the most remote places were still closed the last weekend of June. But we got to roam around plenty of places that were good fodder for the imagination. And I’m sure my dad was happy that he was saved from more jostling around in my SUV than he already got.
Back on April 28th, Trotsky and I hiked up to the Eagle’s View in Reynold’s Park. When we got to the 250 degree view at the top with a sea of green trees below and unique rock formations poking through and the snow-capped Rockies way out in the distance, I must have gotten a little dirt in my eyes because they got red and watery. Okay, okay, fine. I confess. I teared up. I had waited so, so, so long for this winter to be over, to be able to linger in the sunshine at the top of a trail and not hurriedly push through, shoulders hunched against the cold. To inhale the scent of the pine needles with every step and listen to the birds singing about the arrival of spring. To find a dry spot to sit down and share a picnic with my old dog. I was unbelievably happy in that moment and got a little carried away.
Most of my posts about Boulder are flattering because I love living here. The quality of life is excellent, the scenery is beautiful, there’s lots to do, and the people are friendly. But, like anywhere, Boulder does have its share of self-righteous blowhards and general asshats. And I’m just as willing to write about the bad parts of being here (as few as there are) as the good. So, here is part two of a post I wrote a long, long time ago. I’m sure you know some people in your town just like the ones I’ve described here. Continue reading →
What sets me apart from most people in my life is that I was alive when Jimmy Carter was president. Then, when I was one, Ronald Reagan took office and we moved into the house my Republican parents live in to this day. I began a lifelong love of reading in that house by going through my father’s electronics catalogs and attempting to read the descriptions of the latest eight track and Betamax players. Continue reading →
Yesterday kicked off a week-long series of posts all about me as I’m about to turn 40. The next two posts contain lists. Factual, thoughtful, silly, defining, wishful, nostalgic – all sorts of lists about who I am at this point in my life. Something interesting to look back on in the coming decades as I continue to learn more and have experiences and meet people, all of which leads to personal change. None of these are in any particular order. I’d love to hear how some of my readers define themselves in these categories. Feel free to share in the comments! Continue reading →
My two year unofficial hiking project is complete. Yeah, I missed my mark by a few weeks (February 19, 2017 to March 9, 2019) but close enough. In just about two years, I’ve completed 100 distinct hikes. I use word “hike” loosely in this context to mean anything from a two mile stroll up a wide, well-maintained, packed dirt road at sea level with no elevation gain to a nine mile, 4,000 ft + elevation gain, nine-hour slog that sometimes required my hands to pull myself up the steepest spots. Some of these were trail runs, some were on snowshoes, and one was completely through water that was waist high at some points. What they all have in common is that they were in nature, not on any kind of pavement. Sure, I put hundreds of additional miles on my feet in this time, roaming around Zurich, Venice, Milan, Madrid, Beijing, Shanghai, Portland, Kansas City, and so many other great urban areas, and I completed countless recreational runs on pavement and duplicated many hikes, but this post only counts unique wilderness missions. Continue reading →
Back in January, I invited a date over to my house. Before he came inside, I gave him the obligatory warning about my dog. That is, don’t get in his face or near his food and generally just give him his space. It’s not that Trotsky Bear is vicious, but he does require human interactions to be on his terms. He’s not a cuddler—he doesn’t like any pressure on his body—and gets upset when he feels trapped, such as when strangers grab his face with both hands. I may be paranoid, but when your dog has nipped someone a few times—even if it was over three years ago and only happened because he was living in a stressful situation with a cat and a guy who was drunk and angry all the time—that’s how it goes. Better safe than sorry. Continue reading →